Navigating Your Career Path: 7 Questions Every Uni Student Should Ask Themselves Before Choosing A Career

Do you need help determining which career path you should take? Ask yourself these 7 questions and it’ll bring you closer to figuring it all out.

Woman with red hair and glasses in an office

It’s completely normal to feel unsure or even lost about which career path is meant for you. It’s a lot of pressure to try and determine it when you’re still a teenager. There are some out there who have always known what they want to do, but there’s a great proportion of us who don’t, and that’s okay. Your mind will chop and change a hundred times as you toss up different options and try to envision scenarios of yourself in a profession, in the uniform, doing those hours.

Oh, being a doctor sounds cool! But wait, potentially 10 years plus of study? Maybe not. Hmmm what about an accountant? I’m good at maths and business, but do I really want a 9-5pm lifestyle? Or perhaps I should be an artist? Drawing’s fun… It’s overwhelming because there are just so many options now. Rather than working your way through jobs, go back to basics and ask yourself some personal questions. We’re sure you’ll be able to find the answer! Here’s our top 7 questions you need to ask before choosing your career.

Career Question #1: What do I like?

It’s a simple question but it can put people on the spot. Ask yourself, what are my hobbies? What is something you gravitate to in your spare time that really makes you happy? Are you passionate about a certain niche? For example, maybe you’re passionate about history – how can you turn that into a career? Or your favourite show is Shark Tank, perhaps business is for you and you want to be an entrepreneur or work in the field of innovation.

Do you prefer being indoors or outdoors? Do you like working with people or would you rather work mostly independently? What is something you love that you can’t live without? Whilst these are basic questions that may not seem relevant to a career choice, it’s important to determine what you enjoy because at the end of the day, studying can be hard but you must be satisfied and content with what you’re learning.

Shop window with words Your Ideas Matter

Career Question #2: Am I choosing this career for me?

Do you really want this career or is this just an idea that your teacher keeps suggesting? Are your parents pushing you too hard in one direction? Or are your friends judging you on some of the options you’ve selected? Are you hearing the classic ‘I think you are capable of more than that’ or the ‘I don’t think you’re reaching your full potential with that career’?

Whilst it’s important to hear out people’s thoughts, it’s more important that those voices don’t cloud your vision. Listen to what they have to say and understand they most likely have your best interests at heart, but don’t let it influence your final decision.

Remember, you’re the one that has to study for at least three years or more full time and you’re the one that’ll have to work in the field for decades, if you choose to stick it out. This is your journey and you have to back yourself even if they don’t think it’s a good idea!  

Career Question #3: What skills do I have?

What are your talents and strengths? What have you learnt so far that could give you an indicator of which career to choose? Are you an absolute whizz when it comes to computer literacy or do you thrive off making presentations on business proposals? What makes you different? Are there tasks that you seem to be a natural at and you can complete quickly and efficiently?

Determine what you’re good at. If you’re unsure, ask people who know you well – we’re talking teachers, friends, family and mentors. Sometimes others can see what you can’t about yourself and open your eyes to skills you had that you never even realised before.

Career Question #4: Does this career suit my personality and values?

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How would you describe your personality? Does it suit your chosen career? And what are your core, unbreakable moral values? Could your career choice compromise them? What’s more important to you, a job that pays the big bucks or a work and life balance? Can you tolerate the overtime or graveyard shifts, or do you need routine and weekends off?

The last thing you want is to complete all this study and realise that you don’t agree with the industry and lifestyle you’ve chosen.

One Way street signs

Career Question #5: Where do I want to live?

Will your career require you to move locations? Do you need to travel frequently? Do you like traveling? Can you tolerate public transport or drives stuck in peak hour? Do you prefer the hustle and bustle of city life or do you need the quieter and slower vibe of suburbia? Are you an outdoors lover that wants to be as close to nature as possible?

Whilst it may seem trivial and that you should be a go-getter for whatever opportunity arises, ultimately your lifestyle needs to suit what makes you happy. You need to be able to go home and feel revitalised for the next daily slog. It should be a form of escape in an area that you feel like you belong in.

Career Question #6: Does this suit my financial aspirations?

As the saying goes, you work to live not live to work. Is this career able to provide you with your financial needs? Whilst money is of course not everything, you want to meet your goals whether that be to own a house, a car, pay the bills and/or be able to travel once a year every year. Your pay-check determines the type of lifestyle you will have, and there’s a certain level of finances one can reach that will no longer bring happiness but there is a bar that needs to be achieved to be comfortable and content.

Do your research on expected salaries. Connect with people in the industry such as at career expos held by your university and find out for yourself what type of opportunities the field has offered them. If you’re having trouble narrowing down your options, evaluate the possible earnings.

Career Question #7: Are there a lot of jobs available?

Is this a booming industry that will continue to grow, such as the technology industry? Or is it slowly becoming extinct and irrelevant? Is there much space for you to move up in the industry? What is the competition like? Are there long-term possibilities and job security? It’s important that you research your career job outlook.

Choosing a field with more job availability can increase your chances of success because there’s more opportunities to grow, upskill and experience promotions. With that being said, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue your dream career if there’s only a few jobs. Use that as your motivator to excel!

In today’s climate with jobs ceasing to exist and new ones being created all the time, you can no longer base a career choice solely off an interest or for the money. It’s about finding a balance to the answers from these questions, and with that you should be able to make the switch to the right career. If you’re still unsure, check out the best courses to study if you’re unsure of your career path.